Dave Asprey: You’re In Charge Of Your Biology
Today we are joined by one of the biggest names, if not the biggest, in the biohacking and longevity movements! I'm talking, of course, about the Bulletproof founder, Dave Asprey.
Now, if you have been living under a rock and you haven't heard about Bulletproof, well, they are not just a coffee company – they are one of the fastest growing supplement and nutrition companies in America. Dave has already published two New York Times best-selling books, and he joined our show today to tell us all about his all-new book Game Changers, which is coming out December 4th, everywhere books are sold. That's the exact same day that this episode comes out, by the way, so you may want to go and check out the book right now!
Throughout this interview, we talked to Dave about his journey from being a Silicon Valley executive to fixing his health and to founding Bulletproof. We also discussed various more topics, like the things that drive him, emotional trauma, physical trauma, recovery, and longevity.
It's a wide-ranging episode – one that can only happen when 2 seasoned life-hackers meet and meld minds. I always love talking to Dave because he's a very intelligent guy with a great attitude, and he really really cares about helping people perform at their best. In fact, in this episode, we talk about the 450 people that he interviewed on his podcast, and how he transformed that wisdom into his latest book.
I'm sure that you folks are going to enjoy this episode.
In this episode, we discuss:
- Who is Dave Asprey and what does he do? [5:30]
- How did Dave Asprey discover his passion for biohacking? [6:10]
- Going from building technology to building a better human [8:50]
- Oral nicotine supplementation and its connection to Alzheimer's disease [11:40]
- What are some biohacks Dave Asprey utilizes on a daily basis? [13:30]
- Plant compounds with well-selected ingredients can make a difference [15:30]
- What is a good starting point for people that don't already take supplements? [16:35]
- Diving deep into the topic of magnesium [17:30]
- Two more supplements that Dave Asprey receives on a regular basis [19:00]
- How does Dave Asprey learn so much, so fast? [22:10]
- What is another way to lock in material, other than teaching it, according to Dave Asprey? [26:05]
- Food should be a top priority for you [28:30]
- Mitochondrial DNA and its ancestry from the mother's side [29:10]
- Getting the strength to deal with trauma [31:30]
- 40 Years of Zen [34:40]
- Tricking the brain with technology [38:35]
- Biohacking vs paleo – what does Dave think? [41:30]
- What kind of testing does Dave Asprey suggest that you do? [46:30]
- A few more things about Dave's new book [49:20]
- Dave Asprey's final takeaway for you [52:30]
Resources Mentioned in This Episode:
- Our previous episode with Steven Fowkes
- Game Changers by Dave Asprey
- Head Strong by Dave Asprey
- Our previous episode on Richard Feynman
- Our previous episode on Genius Network
- Our previous episode with the founder of Genius Network, Joe Polish
- The website for Dave's new book, Game Changers
Favorite Quotes from Dave Asprey:
Introduction: Welcome to the Becoming Superhuman Podcast, where we interview extraordinary people to bring you the skills and strategies to overcome the impossible. And now here's your host, Jonathan Levi.
Jonathan Levi: Greeting, SuperFriends and welcome to a very, very special episode of the Becoming Superhuman Podcast which is lovingly crafted thanks to a review from the IT geologists in Austria who gives us five stars and says patients and determination. I've been listening to these podcasts all 200 as an additional learning material for the become a SuperLearner Masterclass. Jonathan is my nucleus of learning from where I can follow multiple branches toward new resources. Each interview has broadened my horizons, leading me down new paths towards insight and skills I've never thought possible. I entered the course inpatient for results. However, I've learned that a sustained and long-term approach is the only Avenue to take patience and determination will triumphantly, and becoming superhuman is a way of life and not a six-week fat.
Well, thank you very much it geologist for that incredible review. And if you haven't left a review, We would sure appreciate if you did on to today's episode, yes today we are joined by one of the biggest, if not the biggest name in the biohacking and longevity movements I'm talking of course, about Bulletproof founder, Dave Asprey. Now, if you have been living under a rock and you haven't heard about Bulletproof, well, they're not just a coffee company, they are one of the fastest-growing supplement and nutrition companies in America. Dave has published two New York Times bestselling books, and he joined our show today to tell us about his all-new book Game Changers, which is coming out December 4th, everywhere books are sold.
Throughout this interview, we not only talk to Dave about his journey from being a Silicon Valley executive to fixing his health to founding Bulletproof, to the things that drive him to emotional trauma, to physical trauma, to recovery longevity, it's a wide, wide-ranging episode that really could only happen when two seasoned life hackers meet and meld minds. I always love talking to Dave because he's such an intelligent guy with such a great attitude, and he really, really cares about helping people perform at their best. In fact, in this episode, we talk about the 450 people that he interviewed on his podcast and how he transformed that wisdom into his latest book.
Now, I want to ask you, before we go into the episode, how much do you think you could benefit from actually interacting with thought leaders and learning from them directly in the way that Dave and I do. How much could you achieve? How many new things could you actually implement in your life? And that's why I want to invite each and every one of you to check out a crazy new project that we are running called the Becoming SuperHuman Mastermind.
You see, every single month we invite in a top, expert in the field this month, we are actually doing a challenge with Nick little Hills, who is the sleep coach for Manchester, United, real Madrid, arsenal, and many of the world's top athletes, including Chris Jono Rinaldo. And he is leading our mastermind members through the process he takes the world's most elite athletes through to hack their sleep and improve how rested they feel every single day. These challenges go on Facebook every single week, only for our private members and then we pair that by sending out all the gear, all the swag, all the books, everything you need to actually complete the challenge, and then we put you in a community of over 150 people dedicated to self-improvement who will hold you accountable and make sure that you actually implement the things you're learning. It's only been one month since we launched this, but we have already seen people literally change their lives. We're seeing people come out of depression, we're seeing people finish the books that they've been working on for five years, we're seeing people get back in the gym, it's just been incredible. And that is why I want to encourage you to come check it out by visiting JLE.VI/mastermind.
All right. Now, without any further ado, let me introduce to you, my superfriend, Dave Asprey. Mr. Dave Asprey. Welcome to the show, my friend, how are you doing today?
Dave Asprey: I am doing really, really well. And I'm super happy to see you again.
Jonathan Levi: Yeah, likewise, I'm really glad we reconnected at a genius network and we finally got around. I know you are really, really busy right now, so I appreciate you making the time.
Dave Asprey: You know, when it's a book launch, you put a lot of stuff on hold because, the idea of just, if you spend thousands of hours putting together something.
Jonathan Levi: Totally.
Dave Asprey: You thought it was worth your time, you think it's worth your audience's time and you don't do the work to share it, then it's like going, did half the job.
So I'll wake up early, I'll stay up late, I'll sit in a creaky chair, which apparently I'm doing right now, and share all the good stuff.
Jonathan Levi: I love that. And I want to get so deep into that book, but first I want to, for the three people in the audience who haven't heard of Bulletproof, and haven't heard of Dave Asprey, I've always wanted to hear how you describe what you do. It's a question we all hate, but for you, I think it's a particularly difficult question given how much you do.
Dave Asprey: I sometimes say I'm a professional bio-hacker or I'm the founder of Bulletproof, and sometimes I say I'm a New York Times bestselling science author or I run a coffee company, but really I'm one of the leading voices in human performance, and I, the guy put biohacking in the dictionary literally.
Jonathan Levi: That is absolutely true. And I wanted to ask you because you and I really bonded, I think at Genius Network over this past life that we both share living in Silicon Valley, working in and around technology were you always so passionate about human performance and bio-hacking, or is this something that you discovered after leaving the Valley as we call it?
Dave Asprey: I've been really passionate even in the Valley, but I didn't exactly know why. And it's because I weighed 300 pounds because I had arthritis in my knees since I was 14, and in my mid-twenties, I had really serious cognitive dysfunction and sinus infections all the time. And I worked out six times a week, an hour and a half a day.
And I could not lose the weight after 18 months of doing that on a low, fat, low-calorie diet. So I had pain and exhaustion that were really big motivators. To the point that I bought disability insurance, my mid-twenties, I didn't really know what's going on here, but like something isn't right. What I didn't know was how much all that was affecting my cognitive performance.
So when I, I just said, I'm going to get serious about this. My doctor said vitamin C would kill me. That's why I fired my doctor. He didn't know who Linus Pauling was, who won Nobel prizes, things like that, which has worked on vitamin C. And I is that all right, I've got to go on top of this. I started hanging out with anti-aging non-profit types, ended up running an anti-aging nonprofit group for almost 20 years.
So I'm going for people three times my age, we're dealing with the stuff that I'm dealing with. High blood sugar, pre-diabetes high risk of stroke and heart attack, all that stuff. I'm like, wait, there's this whole universe out there. I started taking smart drugs. I ended up meeting the guy who wrote the first book on smart drugs ever who's still a friend and advisor. Steve Fowkes has been on the show a couple of times. Steve's a great human being. And, and so I, I go through all this and I realize one day, you know, now I didn't just, you know, get rid of the problems I had, but I'm actually performing better than ever. And when I meet 88-year-old guys on my board of directors who are dating 35-year-old women in like happy, successful relationships with like, wait everyone's breaking rules.
There's a whole new level here. And then not to mention hanging out in Tibet with, you know, dance, a Tibetan Lamas, or meaning shamans in South America. You just realize there's a whole bunch of stuff out there the outliers, that's the stuff I'm most interested in. If one person can do it, then we can do it as a species.
And maybe that there's just like in Silicon Valley, you find one little effect and you amplify it and you can make something happen, well, I think we're doing the same thing for humans.
Jonathan Levi: I love that. And I think it's also worth noting that you managed to be a pretty high performer before all this and were successful in your career and I mean, I encourage anyone to check out your bio. You're a mover and shaker in Silicon Valley. What was the tipping point where you go, you know what? I'm not as passionate about software and building technology as I am building a better human.
Dave Asprey: It's really interesting. There was a time way back in the day, I was the first person to sell anything over the internet.
Jonathan Levi: Right. T-shirts.
Dave Asprey: Yeah, the word e-commerce didn't exist, and like, I just, also, by the way, I was working at Baskin Robbins, scooping ice cream at the time so I was a big deal. Right, but I'm just trying to pay for my dorms. Right, trying to pay for my tuition in college.
And I came up with this crazy idea and you look back here that's really cool. So I got to Silicon Valley. And I said, you know, building the internet, I see so much potential for this. It's the most important thing I could do. And I looked at all these petfood.com or pets.com and all these crazy mid-nineties companies, and I said, I didn't really know that there's a lot going on there, but I was pretty excited about Amazon, but they're in Seattle. So. I went to the company that built a lot of the modern internet and I was a co-founder of their consulting group. And I'm telling you, there's a thing when there's disruption happening, Bowker's my third disruptive company. You can feel, at least I can, I can feel the world changing and the internet used to be like that. And at some point in the mid-two thousand, it just stopped feeling like that to me. I can tell artificial intelligence, my undergrad degree has a concentration in AI and I just, I see something happening there, I see stuff with Bitcoin and whatever, but in terms of changing the world, changing human biology, and hacking this, instead of hacking the internet, it just matters more for the future of the planet, for humanity, and frankly, if we have yet another social media tool or, you know, slightly better algorithms, It matters, but it's, it's incremental and I'm all about disruption.
I'm going to live to at least 180 years old. I just celebrated my 25% birthday. I'm in my mid-forties. Right? Like it's a different world that I'm living in and the stuff you see on superhero movies and things like that we are getting there way faster than anyone knows and this is the cool shit. And I'm sorry, early days, the internet, that was fun, but that was mouse notes compared to where we are now.
Jonathan Levi: Totally. And the internet has really reached diminishing marginal returns whereas we've scratched the surface of the potential of this form, not to mention when we start cyborging out, I want to point out this amazing spray thing, that you sprayed me with as well last time we hung out. Tell us about this.
Dave Asprey: I just took a one-milligram microdose hit of nicotine, oral nicotine, and I interviewed on Bulletproof radio. A guy likes called doctrine, a nicotine professor from Vanderbilt University who 30 years ago published the first paper that said oral nicotine, not smoking, not tobacco, not tipping, not nothing, not vaping, but oral nicotine is a treatment for Alzheimer's disease and probably patches too. It can prevent Alzheimer's disease. So in my new book, game-changers, check out this elegant plug.
Jonathan Levi: I know, I love it. I love it. There's a beautiful book, on the screen for those of you listening to the audio.
Dave Asprey: In my new book, I actually write more about nicotine because it is a plant medicine, and it is one of nature's two biggest cognitive-enhancing ones, the other one being caffeine. And it turns out that yes, smoking's a disgusting habit and is bad for you. Vaping is less disgusting, but it's also probably still bad for you, at least it's not as good for it as the other things. And for many types of brains and many types of cells, small occasional doses of oral nicotine, actually mimic exercise, they reduce the risk of all sorts of problems and I use nicotine as an anti-aging smart drug, and I tell people how to do it in the book Game Changers.
Jonathan Levi: I love it. And I will testify to this fact because you're like, Hey, I want a spray of nicotine. And of course, me being the self-experimenter, I went for it and it definitely gives you a buzz, a perky kind of like a cup of coffee, but this kind of physical sensation, which I thought was really interesting.
I'd be remiss. If I didn't ask you what other stuff you do that on a daily basis? I feel like we could consume the whole podcast episode with just the hacks that you do in your daily routine, but.
Dave Asprey: I mean, I take about 150 supplements a day and I've formulated a bunch of them for Bulletproof. So I had this thing called smart mode and starting in my mid-twenties, there's this supplement called Cognitex, which was the first like really focused supplement with Science behind it, for cognitive function. And since then, there's probably 2000 knockoffs of that kind of an idea. And the idea is let's raise acetylcholine, which is a, stimulating neurotransmitter, even though raising acetylcholine is how insecticide works, a lot of them actually just cause insects to twitch like that it's because they have too much acetylcholine. And so if you go to any supplement, a shelf out there, and there's 10 cognitive enhancers, including some of the big names from that, you'll see out there, they're all doing the same thing. And that is an Avenue for enhancement for people who are low in acetylcholine.
And a third of people aren't low in acetylcholine. In fact, I used to take Cognitex and I took it for so long that. What happens is you start getting jaw tension and muscle tension and muscle nodding from an excess of acetylcholine. And there's a whole bunch of other plant compounds that work exceptionally well for cognitive enhancements so I formulate those cause I got tired of taking 10 bottles of stuff. So the big one I make is called smart mode. I take that every day, we just came out with fish oil and my first book was actually on fertility. Like how do you build Superhumans for the next generation, it has to do with what you eat and don't eat three months before you get pregnant and you have diminishing returns from then on down.
Jonathan Levi: Now, once they're fully baked, it sits downhill, right?
Dave Asprey: There's a lot of work to edit something that's fully baked, but you know, I just have enough DHA, have the right micronutrients, don't have a lot of mercury and other toxins, it's amazing what happens to kids. And I just went through that whole path of saying, how do we take that stuff and just bring it forward and what I found was these plant compounds that are not acetylcholine enhancers really make a difference. So there's about a dozen big Bulletproof supplements that have reduced the number of pills I take. I do want to lie armor, I do another one, let's see another one called sleep mode every night, things like that.
So I'm on a bunch of supplements and the evidence is in that supplements work and about, Oh, every six months, we'll see some big media storm paid for by big pharma that says supplements don't work, and when you talk to 3000 doctors at the American Academy of anti-aging medicine who are radically changing people's lives using supplements and am I going to ask the clinicians or I'm going to ask the pharmaceutical companies? I'm actually keynoting again this year at the American Academy of anti-aging medicine. And, you just, you have to be willfully blind to say the supplements don't work.
Jonathan Levi: Right.
Dave Asprey: As a category. Some supplements don't work for some people because there's quality and purity and formulation and different people have different biology, but you get the right supplements in the right brain magic happens.
Jonathan Levi: What's a good starting point for people who haven't experimented with supplementation? I assume most of them don't listen to the show because we talk about it practically every episode, but what's a good starting point? Where should people really start with supplementation?
Dave Asprey: The real easy one? I make one, that's got A D and K together, those three nutrients are really important. If you take just vitamin D like we used to 15 years ago, you can actually cause increased tissue calcification because you don't have vitamin K two with it and vitamin D and vitamin A actually oppose each other, but you need both in order for your body to work well.
So I put all three of them in one capsule, so I could stop taking three capsules because I get tired of fistfuls of pills. You've seen me, Jonathan, you know, big handful of pills swallowing in one swallow, and that's an easy way to get started. It's also very affordable, vitamin K is a little bit expensive.
Everyone listening is short on magnesium. So you really want to take magnesium. And in my last book, uh, headstrong, where I read a lot about mitochondrial biology, I broke a study that talks about the circadian rhythm of magnesium. It turns out your highest levels are at noon. So now I take my magnesium in the morning and at night because it helps sleep but if you have it in the morning, it's gonna help your daytime energy as well.
Jonathan Levi: Did you guys make magnesium?
Dave Asprey: No, actually we don't.
Jonathan Levi: Oh, okay well, there you go new product idea. Which one do you like? Because I know there's BIS glycinate, there's citrate, there's oxide. Some of them completely have zero bioavailability, some of them are really well absorbed in certain tissues, what do you take?
Dave Asprey: I take as many different forms as I can get. So I've got eight different forms. If it ends in an eight, you probably want to take it. And the reason for that is that when you look at something like that, the Krebs cycle, which is how your mitochondria make ATP, there's different forms of it that you might be deficient in, so I look at sort of the broad spectrum approach magnesium instead of just one form. One form that stands out is three and eight, and I do use magnesium threonate as a, and I believe smart road has some of that in there if memory serves, but not, you know, a gram a day kind of dose.
And that stuff specifically goes into the brain according to studies in Japan. The idea here is, we get our basics met and just, if you were to do those, those couple of supplements and you've never taken any supplements before, you're probably going to like your life. And then there's two other things that are kind of supplements, at least one of them is labeled as brain octane oil. Like you want to change your life we make these little packets like ketchup packets. Just put a bunch of those in your bag when you travel and have a bottle of that on your counter, every time you eat or make your Bulletproof coffee, just put some in there, and everything changes. It actually takes a couple of years for your metabolism to really shift into being able to easily burn fat, but if you always have ketones present, because brain octane is in your food and it converts into ketones, your cravings can go down on the first day, you feel very different, and it's different than MCT oil. I mean, there's all kinds of people coming out with MCT oils who just haven't done the research that for instance, LORIC acid, the cheapest and most abundant MCT oil doesn't raise ketones any more than corn oil. But brain octane, which is one of the four kinds of MCT oil raises it four times better than coconut oil it's the highest ketogenic oil like that it has no flavor. So I have used that reliably for years and kind of put that, on the market.
Jonathan Levi: I don't know. Watch you use it like someone else, would I guess, ketchup?
Dave Asprey: Yeah, I just, I pour it on my sushi, if I'm going to be eating anything, I generally have a little bit in there and it's a part of the Bulletproof collagen bars and that's the other big thing I'd recommend as a supplement. I, given that I had arthritis in my knees since I was 14, I've had three knee surgeries. I discovered how important collagen was into bed on the same trip or had yak butter tea that was the inspiration for, for both your coffee. I wrecked my knees to sending 7,500 feet vertical feet in Nepal.
My cartilage was so bruised. I could not walk across the street to get food. Even with two trekking poles I was like a hundred years old and I really wanted to track it now Kailash's and I had five days of sitting on a bus from Kathmandu to Lhasa and that's not this little tiny mud wall restaurant and asked the Chinese guy who I was riding with like, Hey, can you read this menu to me? Cause I don't read Chinese. And. I picked out the highest collagen and food. There was, it was pigs ears. And I had this bowl of like 20 cold boiled pigs ears. It was the most horrible meal I've ever had. I was dipping them in hot soup and just kinda just chewing on them.
And the next day I could walk. I mean, it was such a big deal to have those building blocks to make collagen. And I, I tried blending pig's ears and in my book, no I didn't. But how do you do that? So. Bulletproof put collagen out there as an anti-aging and a performance supplement for humans. So there's a bunch of colleges and out there right now, but it turns out there's about a thousand different ways to make it.
And when you make it from grass-fed animals and you make it with the right peptide size with dye and tripeptides and things like that, it's all about the same as brain octane. You can make coconut oil and MCT oil, but it's not the same. You can buy collagen and for dirt cheap, but it tastes like socks.
Like how do you make it taste good and have the right thing, so, part of that details, the formulation and understanding how it works so that it gets into the body so that it tastes good. And that's why right now the bulk of collagen bars, the number one selling bar at whole foods, and you get your brain octane and you get your collagen in the same thing, that's not technically a supplement, but it's also got some prebiotics in it. So I'm like, do I eat one of those a day? Usually?
Jonathan Levi: It can't hurt. I want to ask you because you are a library of health information and we've talked a little bit, you and I about memory hacks and stuff like that. How do you learn? Because I know your wife's a physician, but she has her own world going on. You're a technologist. How do you learn so much so fast?
Dave Asprey: Oh, man, I am definitely going to have to refer you to game changers because I talk about, I talk about this and I'll give you a more specific answer, but I asked almost 500 people in Nobel prize winners and Navy seals, and just a whole host of characters that question about human performance on Bulletproof radio, you know, top three things that you'd recommend for someone who wants to perform better at everything they do as a human being. And then I statistically analyze the data and there's three big buckets that the world's top-performing people, they focus on smarter, faster, and happier.
And they find ways to make that happen. So what you're asking there is actually both smarter and faster and this boiled down and this isn't just what I think this is what the data showed and it's illustrated by stories about how I do stuff and how other big winners do things, but very different from a, this person did it so you should do it more. This is a priority for a lot of these people, should this be your priority? If so, here's some tools that might work, but yeah. We only have so much time in the day, we're not all going to do everything every successful person that we did. So how do you prioritize what you're gonna do first, second, third, and build that into a program.
So, on the smarter side of things, I do have some knowledge from Jim Kwik and the book who's
Jonathan Levi: okay.
Dave Asprey: Has he been on your show?
Jonathan Levi: Not yet.
Dave Asprey: Okay. I'd be happy to introduce you. Jim's a dear friend and he runs quick learning and he's taught the CEOs of many fortune 100 companies and all of the X-Men actors, how to memorize their lines faster and is one of the top guys here.
But for certain kinds of learning those techniques work really well. Here's what I did, Jonathan. And this isn't something that's easy to replicate. When I was in Silicon Valley, I was all in on making this new internet thing that didn't exist for shipping pay-as-you-go provision on demand cloud computing service was my baby.
I have the poster for it over there, way before Amazon web services was out the door, just incredibly, incredibly cool stuff. And I ran the program at the University of California to teach engineers in Silicon Valley, how to build the internet. So every night or every day I would work all day and I was the company that held Google's first servers I was a co-founder their consultant group. So it was really intense, big deals like architecting the future, and then I would go eat and I eat like this Euro sandwich with lots of laminate and unfortunately some MSG and gluten that probably didn't help me very much. And during that time, I would read the trade journals, like the actual industry magazines about the very latest tech, and then I would drive down the street to the University of California and I would teach a three-hour class on what I just read. I did this three, four nights a week for five years. And the ability to take a really complex topic, stuff it into my head, build a picture well enough that I could teach it, is a learned skill through practice.
And I just interviewed Eric Kendall, the guy who discovered neuroplasticity is in his nineties and won a Nobel prize for it. And I asked him maybe 10 times, how do I learn faster? How do I learn faster? It is practice, practice, practice, fantastic interview, fantastic human being. I just, I love talking with them, but I think what happened here was that so my knowledge of biohacking, of, of anti-aging longevity, um, all these things, it's because I draw a picture of everything in my head. I don't use a memory palace, but I have a working picture that's linked like the internet length. It is not a normal cognitive function,
Jonathan Levi: but that's what we teach in our programs.
Dave Asprey: Yeah.
Jonathan Levi: You've clearly discovered, you know, you've tapped into your innate identic memory, and then the other thing that you said is another thing that comes up in our programs a lot, which is the power of teaching, right? Like Richard Fineman classically taught this like, if you have to teach it, you're going to learn a lot better. And I imagine, I mean, what you're doing right now on the show is taking stuff that you've learned about biohacking, about liquid, nicotine, and teaching that stuff, so all day, that wheel is turning.
Dave Asprey: It is turning. There's another thing that Simon also did and something that I do, there's only two ways I know to really unlock knowledge, and one of them, like I said, is to teach it, the other is to write a book about it. And that's why I wrote game-changers. So I wrote all these books game-changers were okay I fixed my body. Like I got the Bulletproof diet down, I lost the weight, I'm today around 10.3% body fat, like 9.6 and 10.3. That percentage changed, by the way, that's changes in water weights. So I'm carrying about 20 pounds either between 19.7 and 20.6 pounds of fat on my entire body. And I used to weigh 300 pounds and I was a 46-inch waist.
I'm a 33-inch waist awesome stuff. So I go through and I, I solve that problem with Bulletproof and it's half a million copies. A lot of people are doing that with the Bulletproof diet. And then I said, all right, how do I really dial in more on the brain? And that came down to mitochondrial biology because that's, what's missing from cognitive enhancement.
That's what I do in KetoPrime, I wish is another big supplement that just changes people's brains. And we do that with a neuro master when that raises brain-derived neurotrophic factors. So I formulate all these things now I've got that dialed in and wrote the book so I could dial it in and then, okay totally. My brain works. I have more energy and I'm smarter than I was when I was 25. My body works. I don't have pain all the time. This is legit. What am I gonna do with all those energy? So you take four years of interviews, with hundreds of top-performing people, you ask them that one question, but if you don't go through and boil it down to get the data, to figure out what are they doing comics, it's bewildering to try and copy what 500 people do. It doesn't work. That approach doesn't work, but what do they all agree on? And you know the number one thing. All these smart people said, including people had nothing to do with medicine and Tricia and things like that, 76% of people put food as one of the top three things, everyone who kicks ass has learned if you eat garbage, you perform like garbage. That's just how it works. And I've interviewed Rob vegans, I used to be a raw vegan before it made me really sick. And I've, I've interviewed all kinds of different philosophies, but here's the deal, if you're not prioritizing food in your performance stack, you're simply doing it wrong and you're probably not going to achieve it's all those are capable of.
Jonathan Levi: Yeah.
Dave Asprey: but this isn't a book about food. Game-changers has the law about food is eat like your grandma, not a caveman. And the point of that law in the book is, you know, what? If you look at what your mother's mother's mother probably ate, there's some wisdom for you because what works for one person doesn't work for the next person there are basic rules that are in the book that generally work for the vast majority of people, but the diet itself is tuneable in the middle because lentils may trash you. In fact, they trash a lot of people, but, I'm telling you if your ancestors ate lentils for thousands of years on your mother's side, you probably handle them better than average.
And what's going on here that no one talks about is, we have nuclear DNA and this is the stuff inside ourselves that's the blueprint for your meat, but no one talks about this other thing called mitochondrial DNA. And that's the blueprint for your wiring diagram. So if you imagine, if your people evolve, you say on the Savannah, in Africa, okay? Your physical building blocks your meat and your wiring diagram, your power plant, they're perfectly matched and adapted to your environment. But then, if you mix and match, but they were all mixed and matched like there's no one at as 23 me and they're like, oh, I'm a hundred percent Northern European or, you know, Southeast Asia.
And n from this one tribe, it's gone. Right. But we have a mismatch between nuclear and mitochondrial DNA. But if you look at what the DNA in mitochondria, like it always comes from your mom. So there's something to be said about, just look back through your people, try those foods and see which ones work.
You still have to run the experiments. You still have to do the two-week elimination stuff. That's in the Bulletproof diet, but just know it's not the same for everyone. If your wife likes this and you don't like this, it might be because you just have weird tastes or it could be, cause this isn't compatible with you.
And it's okay. And so the big rule there was. The quality of what you eat matters. And if you look at how you feel after you eat, it matters. So you don't have to follow my recommendations. My recommendations are my last two books. They're not in this book for food, but it's to say in your set of priorities if you have a problem with what you eat, You got to find that isn't an emotional thing.
That's another rule in here. A lot of these people figured out when are they making decisions with old trauma and emotions versus when are they making decisions using their rational brain. And that was really important to call that out. And I had a couple of guests on the show. Talk about that in great detail, uh, men and women just saying, look, I had an emotional problem with food.
So all those things are in here. How do you know where to start for me? We wanted to know how do I get another ounce of energy out of my day? How do I get you more engagement, how to get a more flow state? How do we get less downtime?
Jonathan Levi: I love that. And I can definitely feel what you're saying after interviewing albeit not 450, but 250 top performers themes really start to come out.
And they're the same themes over and over and over. And I look at health now used to be a tripod until I talked to a lot of folks like yourself, who mentioned the fourth thing, which is emotional health, but it really comes down to sleep. Exercise and nutrition is really that basic dialing, those four things in and everything else is on top of that.
Dave Asprey: It's weird because if you get those things, then you have the energy and the willpower to actually do the hard work, which is to deal with trauma. We've heard this at Genius Network a lot. Craig Handley, another friend of ours from genius network runs a sizable call center operation, and. He did the 40th was in a neurofeedback training program and posted about it on Facebook and all this stuff.
So I know he's okay with me talking about it, but he said, you know, I just realized that all of a sudden I'm doing as an entrepreneur came about from being bullied in seventh grade. And the number of people who are like me it's before I was 30 and I started doing this work. I was reacting to, you know, crap from first grade and, and things like that where you're not good enough.
So you end up running away from failure and never wanting to look like you're weak, never admitting that you would make a mistake. And that leads to procrastination, at least dysfunctional behavior at work and in relationships, but you don't know what you don't see it as totally invisible. And what it is we make up crappy stories.
In our minds to explain our feelings. And we think our thoughts, our stories because the feelings of things were there first. And because I'm lucky enough to have a couple of neuroscientists working for me. And there's just been four months in my life with electrodes on my head, I can tell you flat out the feeling happens, then the story, and that is how it is.
And. We're not taught that in school. We're not taught that at Wharton. So then you're sitting in a boardroom, you're sitting in a meeting or you're sitting on a podcast and someone says something and they say, no, Dave Asprey is a bad man. And you will neurologically and emotionally flip right back to the first time you heard that.
And you know, when you were in third grade and you know, uh, playground bully kicked you or whatever, and you don't know that it's happening and you make up a story, but I feel bad. I'm going to smash that guy or I'm going to, you know, go hide in the closet or whatever the hell. All that stuff is going on.
And the people who made it into game-changers, Jack Canfield, you know, I've got an interview with Tim Ferriss in here, you know, just some people who've done really big things. They have either figured that out or some of them. Have figured out enough and they're still dealing with it every day and they're in pain because of it, but they're at least aware enough to go.
I'm working on it. I'm taking psychedelics and there's a bunch of DNA therapy. And there's a bunch of game-changers about LSD and about, you know, my own path with Iowasca twenty-five years ago in South America with the shaman and saying, when and how should you do this? Or should you not do it? And what are the techniques, if you don't want to go down that path because there's some legal risks there.
And I, I would say through listening, who are thinking about that ketamine is a hundred percent legal and you can get it from a doctor and it has very similar facts to MTMA and these other things. So if you haven't, if you're dealing with trauma and anxiety and depression, things like that, ketamine is, is a much lower risk thing to try under a physician's supervision.
Jonathan Levi: Of course, of course. Tell me about 40 years of Zen, because I know you have Bulletproof labs. You have not just now coffee shops and products and blogs and books, but you're also doing this 40 years of Zen program. Our mutual friend, Stephan Spencer was raving to me about this program. I'm sure people want to hear more about that as well.
Dave Asprey: All right, let's talk about it. I, when I started Bulletproof, it was just a blog. It was called the Bulletproof executive. I didn't do anything to make it into a company. It was something I was going to do under the nonprofit anti-aging group, but it was nonprofits moved very slowly and I don't move slowly.
So I said, all right, I'll start this as this, a personal blog. I'll just whatever. I already have a job in Silicon Valley and I've got my stock options and quarter-million-dollar a year salary. I'm the VP like I have young kids, starting a company is a terrible idea. So I started saying, what if I could get coffee that didn't cause a crash?
Like, what if I did the lab testing? What if I did this brain octane thing? And I started making products and eventually it turned into a company which is really fun. I start writing the books, I'm loving all of that, but there's other things that don't fit into that bucket of, you know, food and supplements and things like that.
And one of them was, I bought my first EEG machine in 1997 and I've been doing EEG. Since then. And I remember my first session, I walked into the office when it was very primitive and this little eight, 10-year-old runs in, looks at me, runs in a circle around me, goes, ah, probably like 40 circles around me, screaming.
Clearly, I'm not a tested kid at the time. I didn't really know that I was kind of like, this is really not something I want to do. And six weeks later, I walked into that same office and I see the kid in the waiting room. We are about to go hide and he walks up and he goes, hi, my name is Bobby. And I'm like, Oh my God. Look at the change. So.
Jonathan Levi: wow.
Dave Asprey: That was what inspired me to go buy my machine. And after a couple of years, I was doing brain surgery on yourself as a bad idea. So I started working with neuroscientists and people doing neurofeedback. And you fast forward, 20 years later, I used to bring clients through actually a couple of different, uh, centers on ways of working with partners on doing neurofeedback for executives in a very different way than the normal thing is you go in for an hour.
You sit there though, 10 sessions you're there. Now you're upgraded, we're talking 10 hours a day, personal development leaders in the room. You're actually doing a meditation practice with feedback and you do it for five days straight. And about three years ago, I said, all right, I'm very limited with the partners that I'm working with because of older technologies in that whole industry and just practices that were not as effective as I wanted.
So I opened a two-and-a-half-million-dollar facility with two neuroscientists and an executive chef. And. Basically facilitators and a whole staff. So you go there and you spend five days where all you do is look at what's going on inside your head for three days. And you edit all the patterns that make you respond to the world in ways that are not effective.
And then you have two days doing. Specific brain tuning for you, increasing neuron, firing speed, increasing voltage in the brain, and a bunch of other techniques that around just balancing out conductivity across complex networks, we couldn't even visualize 10 years ago. And the result is you can get into some of the brain States that advanced Zen masters can get into in five days.
And some of this is based on the very latest research. In the last five to 10 years, what do gamma brainwaves do, what do alpha brainwaves do and where do they happen? And when, and we actually developed custom hardware and software to do that. So I'm all in on this stuff, but that doesn't exactly collagen protein bars and Bulletproof cold brew coffee.
So I started this as a facility. I don't get paid for it. I'm the founder and chairman, but it pays for its own research. And I get to have that gear at home. I get to train my kids with it. I get to train myself with it.
Jonathan Levi: Very very cool. And in addition to that, there are labs, which is a workout facility with all kinds of bio-hacking gear.
Dave Asprey: Yeah. I kind of look at it almost more as a recovery facility and what I learned in my path of working out six days a week, hour and a half a day, you can be over-trained. Most of our friends, Jonathan, who are entrepreneurs, don't need more exercise. They need more recovery.
Jonathan Levi: Yes.
Dave Asprey: I have learned and I'm sitting above a million-dollar lab.
I have all this stuff at home because I travel like a madman and I have a very intense cognitive life. And I have young kids and a wife, and I didn't mention my other company true dark that makes the. Glasses that actually they're patented and improve deep sleep quality. And we can see changes on an EEG when people wear them and things like that, that yellow glasses you'd normally see me wearing there for cognitive function and all of that stuff is pretty powerful.
And what I learned from all this is that you can get more exercise in less time. And technology plays a big role there because all exercise in all of human history has pretty much been running away from tigers or picking up rocks. Like there's nothing else, you know, there's cardio and it's always gravity-based and it's always stupid.
So we can do two and a half hours of cardio in 21 minutes on one of the pieces becoming we have. And you can say that's not possible. Okay. It's not possible, then don't do it. It's all right. What I'm talking about there is we can get a lactic acid signal into the brain to make the brain sync. You exercise two and a half hours at the same time, getting more oxygen into the brain and organs.
And then you wouldn't get from running a marathon because when you exercise, all of the blood goes to your skin to cool you down. Well, when you're exercising with ice and compression, different things happen, mother nature. Doesn't let you exercise with ice and compression, but we do at upgrade labs and.
Modulating the light frequencies that go into the body and cryotherapy and all, all these different technologies. So they're there for recovery. So most people need to come in and recover faster and we'll do that, including intravenous nutrients, things like that. Or. If they come in and say, I want to put on muscle, Hey, this kind of technology puts muscle on three times faster than picking up rocks and heavy things.
Which do you want to do the idea behind all of this stuff? There's an ROI for everything you do. And then I, the return on the investment is time and energy. Right. So if it takes a huge amount of just effort and a huge amount of time, that's the worst. It's a very large investment. I want things to take less time and less effort.
And if it takes a lot of effort, I want it to be 20 seconds of effort, not 20 minutes of effort, because I can put that effort into building my company and just spending quality time with my family. And do you know, being a service, I could put it into something that didn't have a high return. So upgrade labs is just about giving me the highest possible return on every minute you spend recovering, or every minute you spend stimulating cardio or muscles or whatever else you want to do.
Jonathan Levi: Mm. I like that because one of the things that I've always wanted to ask you is I see that there's kind of two movements in health and one of them is like, You put it very eloquently, like do what a caveman did. Let's just go back to a million years ago before all of these different changes and all the gluten and all this artificial light.
And the other one is like, where I see you sitting, which is okay, we have the artificial light. We have all this shit in our diets. Let's develop a way to get past that to the next step. I mean, what's your thinking on the whole paleo or functional fitness or all these things that go back instead of forward.
Dave Asprey: A long time ago on paleo hacks. This has to be eight years ago or something. I got into some debate with someone about this know biohacking versus paleo. And there's no verses there. I was like a paleo is one of the different techniques or approaches you can take towards controlling the environment around you so that your body does what you want it to do.
And I said, look, the full respect for what you're doing here, but as you're living in your cave, me and my army of biohackers were coming with lasers. And you don't have lasers because you're stuck in the cave mentality. So maybe we could use all of these amazing tools that we've invented over the last thousand years of technology development in order to overcome some of the problems we have.
And then you get these crazy people who say, Oh, I like to get all of my nutrients from my food. Like, Oh, then you must like to get all of your toxins from mother nature too. Right? And what do you mean? Like, well, look, if we evolved in perfect harmony, we only got toxins from mother nature, but we have all sorts of stuff in our environment that we did not evolve to handle.
So when you take supplements, like we make glutathione, a dry liposomal co-design you can take in a pill instead of the stuff that tastes nasty under your tongue that we used to make. And. Raising levels of that. You probably wouldn't have to do that if you were a caveman, but since I actually flew to New York and back twice in the last month, I'm pretty sure that I wanted that in my body.
It is not paleo in any way, shape, or form. It's more functional medicine than anything else, but here's the deal. We use technology and we get enormous benefits from technology. Like the entire history of human progress is littered with us, willing to make sacrifices, to save time or did you know there were trade Wars over baking powder
Jonathan Levi: and salt
Dave Asprey: women like thousands of years, like human lifetimes, because they didn't have to sit around waiting for bread to rise anymore when baking powder came out.
So the companies did this, got big wrestling matches and huge fights. That's just labor-saving stuff. We're just dealing with that now, but there was a side effect. So you could say I'm going to not use any technology and live in a cave, or I'm going to use the technology. Look at the systemic risk and reward.
Choose the stuff that works and then intelligently counterbalance, whatever problems happen. That's the history of human progress. If that's what you do in biohacking, I have a cell phone. I use a cell phone. Guess what cell phone EMS or battery mitochondria. And I wrote about that in my last book. I don't think there's much about that in game-changers.
I didn't put too much in there. I did put up some new sleep hacks that I've never published before are in game-changers.
Jonathan Levi: I'm looking forward. I've got the galley right here from your uh publicist. So I'm looking for, I always have a rule never to read the book before the interview cause that I don't ask the hard questions. This one.
Dave Asprey: That's an interesting rule. I don't think I'm going to take it. You always read the book.
Jonathan Levi: I wouldn't
Dave Asprey: say always, but I do my best. Where's it going to EMF? So on cell phones. Okay. I could say I'm not going to use that anymore, or I could say. Well, let me move it away from my jock. And so that's what I did. I used to give him my front pocket and I put it in a, like a hip pocket or on my right femur.
And when I did a high-density or high-resolution DEXA scan, there's 10% less bone density. Right. where My phone sits
Dave Asprey: dammit, I have very dense bones because of the training I do, but it was having an effect. So,
Jonathan Levi: Wow.
Dave Asprey: I could have just taken my cell phone and tossed it and be like, we live in a microwave world and we're all gonna die.
But come on. The stress from that is actually gonna kill you more than that stuff probably is. So what do I do? I sewed EMF Joaquin fabric into the pocket on my pants. So now I have biohacker pants that actually look like old pants cause they are, they just have, you know, 10 bucks worth of silver fiber sewn into them.
And tomorrow. And I keep my phone on airplane mode when I'm not really gonna use it. So I minimize my risk and I maximize the benefits of having a cell phone, which is really, really big. And you can do this with your food. You can do this with light. I don't have led lights on my house. They're bad for you.
Do I have my true dark glasses? Yes. And I wear them indoors because my brain works really well and I can be in an illuminated indoor place. It's pretty nice. Otherwise, I have to have torches. Let's take advantage of this amazing world we've created and just understand if your body doesn't like the world, then modify the inputs to the body.
It's not that hard.
Jonathan Levi: I love that. And you mentioned something really interesting, which is bone density testing. And that reminded me, I've always wanted to ask you, I asked you a little bit about it at genius network, but what kind of testing do you do on a regular basis? Because of the levels that you're talking about of performance mitochondria, knowing gene expression, all these things, you must be doing a ton of testing.
So what kind of testing do you do? What kind of testing do you advise? The average near mortal does.
Dave Asprey: You know, testing is expensive and inconvenient. There's no way around it. It's much less inconvenient that used to be. I started a lab testing company in 2008. It was my wife, one of the first at-home lab testing companies for specific immune stuff.
And. Learned so much about how broken the industry is. What I recommend is just for baseline testing is inflammation, markers. It's the most important thing you can do. C-reactive protein, homocysteine, and LP PLA two. And. If any of those is high, then you have an issue. And the issue could be what you're eating after eating grains and things like that.
Well, maybe we'll do that. Could be something you're allergic to. You might want to look at nightshades or eggs or other things like that or get a Cyrex test, which can tell you some good food allergies. And from there, most people really ought to get a full hormone panel, no matter their age, because if you do this, when you're 26, maybe those are the levels you want to be targeting when you're 46 and 106.
Right. And if you're 40 and your DHA is through the floor and your testosterone levels are down a little bit and your estrogen levels are up, you might want to know that so you can fix it. When I was 26, I had more estrogen than my mom had almost undetectable thyroid and very low testosterone. And. Yeah, that would make you not feel so good. Right?
Jonathan Levi: Oh, I know. I know.
Dave Asprey: So those are the big tests. The other one I'd have to recommend is the Viome test. And B I O M E. You have to know what's going on with your gut bacteria. That was the biggest challenge for me to hack in my own health. I was on antibiotics for 15 years every month because of chronic sinus infections and strep throat, because I lived in a toxic mold house.
And, um, that sets off sinus infections and you just, you're never, well, well, after wrecking my gut bacteria like that, you can actually see what's growing, what's not growing and you can also see what they're metabolizing from your food and you can make shifts in your diet. In order to increase the kinds of short-chain, fatty acid-producing things that you want.
And I have a pretty darn Epic microbiome now because I measure that and I tweak it. So I started out with that inflammation, hormones, and what's going on in your gut bacteria.
Jonathan Levi: Those are really, really great.
Dave Asprey: And by the way, I just remembered this. If you use Bulletproof the code, when you check out, I think they'll still send you a copy of my last book as part of the deal.
Jonathan Levi: Huh? Perfect. We'll put that in the show notes for everyone to check out. I know you are busy and in the middle of a launch, I heard a small rumor that you have another book. Maybe you could tell us just a little bit about that one coming out on December 4th,
Dave Asprey: this little rumor about this book called game-changers.
This was really five years in the making and I figured it out, so listen to all 500 episodes of Bulletproof radio. If you listen to eight hours a day, five days a week, full-time job, it's going to take you three months to go through that and then take notes and then try and do it. Well, I went through and spent more time than that.
Not just doing the interviews, the prep work, but then analyzing the transcripts and working with a statistician to figure this out, because what I would hate to do is have everyone say, Oh, Dave does it. So I'm going to do it. Here's the deal. I'm six, four. I have a history of autoimmune disease. I used to be obese and I travel more than humans really.
Should and I do other things? So please don't act like you're me. And if I acted like you, I would probably be unwell. So there's fine. Levels of custom tuning. If you have a Tesla, don't treat it like a Ferrari. You won't like what happens when you put the gas in it? Right. So, you know what I mean? There is customization here, but I really, I felt the imperative from my own life to figure out what's going on inside the heads and what's going on inside the practice and the habits of the people who've done really big things so that I can learn from them instead of just making all the mistakes for myself.
And what came out of that was 46 laws. For people to perform better. And one of the things that I think is most important is that each of the laws has a set of work activities at the end of it. So you can go through and go. This one actually resonates. I really want to work on that. Here's the five questions I need to answer.
Here's the activities I'm going to do. Here's the decisions to make right now, so you can get started on it. So it's very actionable and it is necessary if you're a biohacker you want to perform. At very high levels. This is that combination of where do I put my effort and what's going on in the cognitive and spiritual and performance enhancement ways that I think there's a great merit.
There's also four laws in here about sex. And we don't have time to talk about your show, but there is such a thing as an orgasm hangover, and I show you the data and tell you what to do about it.
Jonathan Levi: I was going to ask about chapter six, sex is an altered state. I mean, it was hard not to, I actually broke my rule a little bit and started diving into the first couple of chapters today. I mean, this book looks like it's hell of a read. So I'm really looking forward to reading it and people can get that everywhere books are sold. Right.
Dave Asprey: Absolutely. In fact, if you just go over to pick it up, go to Amazon, and order it you can pick it up right now. And if you go to Asprey game-changers dot com, there's also a bunch of prizes, including we're giving away a hundred thousand dollars worth of STEM cells.
Jonathan Levi: Wow.
Dave Asprey: Some pretty Epic stuff. So that'll get your attention. Yeah,
Jonathan Levi: Dave Asprey. It's always a pleasure chatting with you. I want to thank you. But first I want to ask you the question that we ask at the end of every show. Maybe we'll do a book when we reach 450 people, which is if people take just one really big takeaway from hearing from you and learning from you and they carry that with them for the rest of their lives, what would you hope for that to be.
Dave Asprey: It's that you're in charge of your biology is I'm in charge of you.
Jonathan Levi: I love it, Dave, like I said, always a pleasure. Thank you so much for taking time out of your schedule to chat. And I do hope we keep in touch,
Dave Asprey: I understand it's been a pleasure. Thanks, man.
Jonathan Levi: Take care, my friend. All right. Superfriends. That is all we have for you today, but I hope you guys really, enjoyed the show and I hope you learned a ton of actionable information tips, advice that will help you go out there and overcome the impossible.
If you've enjoyed the show, please take a moment to leave us a review on iTunes or Stitcher, or drop us a quick little note on the Twitter machine @gosuperhuman. Also, if you have any ideas, For anyone out there who you would love to see on the show. We always love to hear your recommendations. You can submit on our website, or you can just drop us an email and let us know that's all for today, guys.
Closing: Thanks for tuning in to the Becoming SuperHuman Podcast for more great skills and strategies, or for links to any of the resources mentioned in this episode, visit www.becomingasuperhuman.com/podcast. We'll see you next time.